"JJ" came to me when I was looking for an "AKC" purebred dog to work and show - when I couldn't show Ashley being a mixed breed.
I had gone to Seminole County Animal Control (in Casselberry, FL) when someone notified me there was young golden there, just turned in.
I of course said "I don't want a male, don't want a dark Golden and it can't be "high strung"!!
SO home I come with "JJ" - a male, 35#, long legged, red, high energy Golden. So much for MY guidelines :)
He was 5 months old when I adopted him - all I knew of his past is he was turned in by a man whose kids had bought him for him as a present - for which he didn't obviously want.
Over time, "issues" started turning up when situations were presented to "JJ". I found out he was very fearful of men, did NOT like kids, he was "space protective" (on a leash, in a crate etc.)and was extremely gun-shy.
I can say, honestly, that "JJ" never got "over" issues, even with all the years of training and showing, but he did relax in certain situations or at least become tolerant (my goal).
JJ" ended up being a very interesting (not at the time ) dog to train and show. He became my greatest teacher of dog "issues" re: fears, aggression, etc.
He earned his "CD" (obedience) title under all men judges - only being 1/2 point out of a Dog World Award by one score.
He earned his "JH" (field)4 legs in a row and his "WC" (field) the first time out (after a full year of working his gun shyness - even snapping a 3/4" leather leash at one point!).
He earned his agility titles, being a velcro dog - and earning confidence to move away and learning to ignore other dogs and lots of people milling around.
He was his brother's (Dreamer) greatest teacher in "dog language" and believe it or not tolerance (I never realized how much until he was gone!).
On one particular Monday I took "JJ" into work after a Sunday afternoon field training where he was "trotting" in with his bumpers instead of running in as normal (he did everything with strength and gusto!!).
They asked me what he was doing...I said "well, he was trotting in with his bumpers instead of running". They asked if he was vomiting, diarrhea, anything else...I said "nope, I just felt like he wasn't acting right".
Thank goodness for doctors that have learned to LISTEN to their clients - and believe them if they say something is out of the norm, when there are no "outward" signs to
them. We ran bloodwork and a platelet count, they did a full examination only coming up with VERY slightly enlarged lymph nodes on his neck.
We got the bloodwork results back..his WBC was WAY, WAY off...suspecting Lymphosarcoma..we waited for the other results. When that came in they suspected something else...we did a bone marrow aspirate and it came back..."Lymphoblastic Leukemia".
We were ALL in such shock! This was my 7 year old in his prime (he just turned 7 in Feb. this was now April). He had just earned his first 2 Master Agility legs in USDAA 4 weeks previous, we had a CDX yet to do in obedience and MANY, MANY other titles!!!
I opted to go ahead and try chemo therapy...the pathologist gave us a prognosis of 7-240 days (what a range!)....on the 9th day "JJ" told me it was his time to go!! He could go on no longer.
What an immense presence not only physically, but mentally, in this household was missing!
I basically went into shock mode for awhile...My "HEART DOG" - once in a life time dog was gone! I have to say he taught me so much that I couldn't remember until I grieved and was able to be rational again...but boy did the memories and lessons start flooding in then!
The memories of what "greatness" this pound puppy was able to achieve. He was the very FIRST Golden in Florida to earn the AKC - "MX" title! He was the first dog to earn 2 of those new "AXJ" legs on the very first weekend the class was offered as titling (only to be gone before his next trial to
finish the title!) My first "competitive" obedience dog - oh, all those matches for a year to get ready before going in.
And my first exposure and now new love for field work, and showing me how important it is for us to give a little and take a little :) I asked for the obedience and agility from him, I gave the field
work to him (he loved his field work...I wasn't too thrilled about the dead duck thing ).
**I truly still miss you "J" - take care of Tera for me!**
(2-09-91 ** 4-23-98)
Click on "Memory Lane" to see more photos of JJ!!!!
All photos and writings are copyrighted and property of Becky Nicholas